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Why Britain Should LEAVE JAN MOIR ALONE!

Jan-Moir-and-Stephen-Gate-001[1]

For the same reason we’re letting Stand For Marriage Maine off the hook in its NPR dispute, we also want the Daily Mail and columnist Jan Moir to be left alone — by the government industry’s governing body — even though she wrote a pretty terrible column about Stephen Gately’s death. Britain’s Press Complaints Commission is investigating the newspaper after receiving some 22,000 complaints over Moir. But what does that mean, exactly?

The PCC is looking into three possible violations of the press code of practice (a code that is, frankly, ridiculous in purpose). Those clauses cover accuracy, intrusion into grief or shock, and discrimination. None of these alleged infractions are worth investigating, let alone punishing. (Matthew Cain explains exactly why here.) Let the newspapers print all the hatred they want. If that’s their business model, the free market will soon punish them more severely (read: consumers will pressure advertisers to flee) than a government governing censorship agency.

We don’t want Big Brother examining our content, which we’re wholly entitled to manufacture as we see fit. So we don’t want them harping on the Daily Mail either. Is this a self-serving position to take? Certainly. But it’s also a position that maintains the status quo of a free press — and a reader base entitled to consuming whatever information they choose.

Continue the Twitter-bashing of Moir and the Mail. Just don’t let the government decide who gets to say what.

By:           editor editor
On:           Oct 21, 2009
Tagged: , , , , , ,

  • 18 Comments
    • Jae
      Jae

      This is a somewhat confusing article. The PCC is not a Government body. It’s an industry body which is funded by the magazine and newspaper companies themselves. Jan Moir works for the Daily Mail, and the editor of the Daily Mail is in fact the current chairman of the PCC’s Editors’ Code of Practice Committee.

      The Government is not getting involved and any decision made by the PCC is not binding in anyway. Newspapers and magazines voluntarily adhere to rulings.

      The fact is the PCC is a toothless body, and it’s only public opinion and a drop in readership levels that’ll ever stir a newspaper to change it’s ways.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steff
      Steff

      Yeah. The Press Complaints Commission is nothing to do with the UK Government.

      This is getting beyond a joke now, Queerty.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 2:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Emma
      Emma

      Piss poor queerty really. Think before you blog.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steff
      Steff

      Britain’s Press Complaints Commission is investigating the newspaper after receiving some 22,000 complaints over Moir. But what does that mean, exactly?

      It means that they will be asking the Daily Mail to publicly justify their stance in the column, none of this nonsense about censorship.

      The PCC is looking into three possible violations of the press code of practice (a code that is, frankly, ridiculous in purpose)… Those clauses cover accuracy

      Yeah. I can see why you would have a problem grasping that.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matthew Cain
      Matthew Cain

      Thanks for the link. Why do you think the code is ridiculous? I think it’s basically a robust document which has evolved over the last 18 years. It’s just its application which isn’t always so rigorous.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ashley
      Ashley

      While I don’t think the PCC will do much about this, nor should they- I do think this situation can teach us a lot about two way communication between news makers and their audiences in this new internet age. We as individuals, DO have the right to voice out opinions and submit our complaints. For more multiple perspective coverage of this issue: http://www.newsy.com/videos/daily_mail_s_article_on_pop_star_death_sees_record_complaints

      Oct 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Inkspot
      Inkspot

      DUHHHH

      sorta get the sentiment but ya know we sometimes have to stand up to bigots!

      Oct 21, 2009 at 5:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mary Taylor
      Mary Taylor

      ‘Just don’t let the government decide who gets to say what’

      Queerty, the PCC is not part of the government at all. Its a body run by the press industry to moderate the industry, but its rulings are not binding.

      Furthermore the PCC is not really investigating 22,000 complaints. It can only examine complaints made from those directly affected by the article, eg Stephen’s family, friends and perhaps label. It can recognise those complaints, but cant act unless someone directly affected complains.

      Bad reporting Queerty

      Oct 21, 2009 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      The PCC can respond to any damn complaint they receive. They only invoke the ‘friends and family’ clause when it’s a breach of the code’s fifth article.
      Jan Moir gets paid a damn good wage in one of the most financially successful newspaper-reading industries in the world.
      She screwed up and she deserves the world of hurt that’s being visited on her.
      The ‘free market’ approach is a fucking useless argument to make. It didn’t work for the banks and it’s unlikely to work for the newspapers.
      Moir seems ot think that only boy-band fans and gays have complained about her. She’s not paying attention. The complaints have come from all across society because she offended decency and that is a total no-no. She also offended enough middle class people that unless the PCC takes clear action against her, all those complainants are going to start bugging their MPs about restricting press freedoms. And as this is an election year, those MPs are going to pay attention.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gordon
      gordon

      i have to congratulate the comments here (mostly), by far more informed than the ‘journalism’.

      alas, i’m sure someone will start a ‘debate’ over fat/skinny, tatt bad/tatt good, hairy vs plucked chicken, or some such sh*t… but much as the daily mail enjoyed increased ‘traffic’ due to the coverage, i suspect queerty is doing the same, more ‘stir’ rather than ‘spin’.

      stick to what your good at queerty… not that i can recall what…

      Oct 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erick
      Erick

      Somebody woke up in a bitchy mood.

      I guess you do manufacture your content as you see fit.

      Dont you guys fact check anything? Do you think before you publish?

      This nonsensical post is a new low for Queerty.

      Oct 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark H
      Mark H

      There are so many glaring factual errors in this article that quite honestly it doesn’t contribute anything at all to the debate and just leaves the author looking staggeringly ignorant …. and worthy of a editorial post at The Daily Mail.

      Oct 22, 2009 at 3:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tavdy79
      tavdy79

      22,000 complaints is more than five times what the PCC normally receives in one year – and it’s only been six days, so that’s more than 300 times the number of complaints they’d normally receive in that amount of time. If they didn’t investigate, the PCC would be facing the possibility of being replaced by a government agency, probably a new subsidiary of Ofcom.

      The PCC is in a tough situation – if they don’t do anything, they could well become defunct, however because the PCC is voluntary the Mail isn’t required to do anything. Jan Moir won’t resign – it would be an admission of guilt. The Daily Mail won’t fire her for the same reasons, although it may be forced to if it becomes clear that the alternative is losing the PCC – which would hurt the Mail more than any other major UK paper since they are by far the worst when it comes to gutter-press tactics.

      There are cultural issues at work here which have no relevance to the USA, which may explain why the reaction has been so strong. Ironically, I think Jan Moir herself sums them up quite succinctly in her comment on last year’s furore over the Ross & Russell phone pranks, “Misogyny dressed up as comedy” (emphasis mine):

      Increasingly, the cloak of freedom of speech is used as a defence for the kind of deliberate, gratuitous disrespect that Ross and Brand displayed… They fatally underestimated public taste, values and our strong sense of British fair play.

      You’ll notice that, when she’s part of an oppressed group (in this case, women) she’s quite happy to object to unreasonable behaviour – yet less than a year later she herself indulges in the same behaviour to oppress others (gay men). There is little more inherently vile than bigotry married to hypocrisy, which ties into why I think this is creating a bigger scandal here than it would in the States. “Fair play” is a concept which, in the US, lacks the significance it has in the UK, where it’s pretty much central to our perception of human & civil rights, and social interaction. Even if you ignore her hypocrisy, Moir’s article “was just not cricket”.

      “but much as the daily mail enjoyed increased ‘traffic’ due to the coverage
      — Gordon

      That’s not necessarily going to be a good thing for the Mail – their website is funded through advertising, and all their major advertisers have pulled their adverts from Moir’s article. The only adverts there now are for Mail subsidiaries, which won’t pull in the same revenue since many of those accessing the page won’t click through to the subsidiaries in protest at the article’s content. Meanwhile the article is likely to have seen more traffic than any other on their entire site, and the more people view a page the more it costs to run, so it’s very possibly a financial black hole.

      Oct 22, 2009 at 6:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      I agree with Gordon: much as the above article is disturbing, it is heartening to see the level of informed response from other commentators!

      Nevertheless, queerty should be deeply ashamed of this article. Its inaccurate and foolish.

      I needn’t go into the obvious factual errors, as they’ve been noted already. But pretending the free market can be arbitor of public morality is utter derranged, more so that in the UK we have part-nationalised media (BBC)!

      Jan Moir cannot even seem to grasp what she did to upset anyone, judging her dedicedly antagonistic, unapologetic ‘apology’, and if the PCC cannot at least make her understand what she did to upset people, then it must be replaced with something with enough teeth to do so.

      Oct 22, 2009 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Distingué Traces
      Distingué Traces

      I honestly find the limitations on free speech in the Commonwealth and Europe a hell of a lot scarier than one ugly-minded columnist in the lifestyle section.

      Oct 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steff
      Steff

      What limitations?

      Oct 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      Freedom of Speech is enshrined under the European Convention on Human Rights, and thus across every member state of the EU.

      Prior to that, the Bill of Rights (1689) protected freedom of speech across the UK and all of the commonwealth. The Bill of Rights was the precursor of the United States Constitution and the UN declaration of human rights.

      If the ‘limitations’ you fear are extant, Distingué traces, then Jan Moir would never have been able to write and publish her article in the first place.

      Oct 23, 2009 at 7:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark H
      Mark H

      “I honestly find the limitations on free speech in the Commonwealth and Europe a hell of a lot scarier than one ugly-minded columnist in the lifestyle section.”

      There is no limitation (provided it isn’t hate speech). On the contrary, Jan Moir has had total freedom of speech, and – because she chose to abandon any vestige of human decency – others are therefore simply exercising their freedom to draw whatever conclusions they wish from what she has said …. namely that she is an an odious, unfeeling, spineless bigot.

      The paper which published the article is a voluntary subscriber to a VOLUNTARY code of conduct which states, amongst other things, that they will report accurately, that they will not intrude on grief or shock, and that they will avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s sexual orientation. All that the 25,000 people are doing is holding Jan Moir and The Daily Mail to that code of conduct. If they didn’t want to be bound by it, then they were perfectly free to refuse to sign up to it … it would have been a hell of a lot more honest that what they have done by subscribing to it and then complain bitterly when they are called to honour their own unforced commitments.

      Oct 23, 2009 at 11:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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